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Georgia: Thousands Of Demonstrators Gather In Tbilisi

Tbilisi, 14 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in the Georgian capital Tbilisi today, demanding that President Eduard Shevardnadze resign. Shevardnadze appeared on national television earlier today, appealing for calm and warning the demonstrations that have continued since parliamentary elections on 2 November could lead the country to "bad things."

However, Mikhail Saakashvili, the leader of the National Movement bloc, called for opposition supporters to gather in Tbilisi and gave an ultimatum to Shevardnadze to come out and speak with the protesters or the crowd would cease to regard him as president.

Estimates of the crowd range from several thousand to up to 20,000. Some carried signs calling on Shevardnadze to step down immediately.

Saakashvili said the demonstrators will not storm any government buildings. Police and Interior Ministry troops said they will allow the protesters to hold a peaceful rally but will not tolerate any violence.